A recently released report provided insight into employment successes and challenges in the European Union.
The 2015 Employment and Social Developments in Europe review, published by the European Commission, highlighted hiring trends, labor opportunities and social challenges to employment across the EU. The report also investigated solutions to employment issues.
Stated Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen:
“We need to ensure that there are more and better opportunities for people in the EU, especially those furthest away from the labour market. We must also invest in enhancing people’s skills, so that all women and men in the EU can realise their full potential … We need to ensure that our labour law and social protection systems are fit-for-purpose in the 21st century, and we need to foster entrepreneurship and innovation … “
The ESDE suggested that the EU labour force can be more efficiently utilized by supporting greater mobility across the EU. It cited findings that just 4 percent of the population of the EU between the ages of 15 and 64 reside in a different Member State than the one they were born in, and stated that mobile workers still have a minimal share in the total workforce despite their total number increasing over the previous two decades.
The report noted that mobile workers generally have more promising employment opportunities than non-mobile workers, and also benefit the countries they work in by reducing employment shortages. According to figures from EUBusiness, the employment rate of working-age individuals living in an EU country other than the one they were born in was 68 percent, which is 3.5 percentage points higher than the average rate for individuals who stayed in their home countries.
Another focus on the ESDE was improving the availability of job opportunities for women and ethnic minorities. It highlighted that target policies to strengthen and expand the skill sets and business knowledge of these groups is a viable way to improve employment prospects for these groups.
The ESDE found that 63.5 percent of women in the EU were employed in 2014, which was up from 62.6 percent in 2013. According to Inform, the most common challenges that women entrepreneurs face are cultural traditions and prejudice, lack of education and training opportunities and minimal access to capital and business networks.
The report suggested increasing the availability of flexible working contracts, entrepreneurship education, fiscal incentives and child and elderly care as specific ways to increase employment opportunities for marginalized groups.